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If you’ve ever ordered a beer at a bar or restaurant, you know that there are many choices, including different craft and domestic beers.

It can be confusing to know which beer to pick if you don’t know what these terms mean, but learning more about them can help you choose the perfect drink.

This article will explain the difference between craft beer and domestic beer.

Craft Beer vs Domestic Beer

What is the difference between craft beer and domestic beer?

The main differences between craft beer and domestic beer are the brewing methods, ingredients, and scale of production. Craft beer is typically more complex, flavorful, and expensive, while domestic beer is usually more uniform, less expensive, and widely available.

Craft beer can be defined in a few different ways. In the most technical sense, craft beer is usually any beer brewed by a brewer who produces less than 6 million barrels a year.

However, some organizations or beer enthusiasts claim that a beer can’t be called a craft beer unless only 2 million barrels are produced per year.

Other places define craft beer as being brewed in a traditional way by small, independent brewers.

The best way to think about craft beer is to consider that it’s a beer that, as its name suggests, has been carefully crafted by its brewers.

Beers produced in larger quantities are often considered to be manufactured beers.

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Domestic beers are any beers produced in the country where you’re buying them, although this term usually refers to beers brewed in the United States.

In general, domestic beers are mass-produced, but some craft beers can also be domestic beers.

To summarize the differences between craft beer and domestic beer, here are some bullet points.

Craft Beer:

  • Made by small, independent breweries
  • Uses traditional brewing methods
  • Uses high-quality ingredients
  • Creates unique and flavorful beers
  • Often brewed in small batches
  • Known for complexity, variety, and creativity
  • More expensive due to higher cost of ingredients and smaller scale of production

Domestic Beer:

  • Produced by large, commercial breweries
  • Uses mass-production methods
  • Uses cheaper ingredients
  • Creates a consistent, uniform product
  • Less expensive than craft beer
  • Often marketed to appeal to a wide audience
  • Widely available

selection of craft beers

What is a microbrew?

Microbrew is another term that’s commonly used alongside craft. Microbrew is similar to craft beer in that it has to be brewed in small batches, but microbrews must be brewed in batches much smaller than craft beers.

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Microbrew is also a legal term, as opposed to craft beer, which is a term used by associations. The legal limit for microbrewing varies from state to state, but in general, a microbrew must be local and must be made in batches of 10,000 barrels or less.

This means that some craft beers can be called microbrews, but the terms aren’t interchangeable.

Female Hand Picking Up Glass of Micro Brew Beer From Variety on Tray

Is craft beer better?

When you’re comparing craft and domestic beers, many people feel that craft beers are better.

However, this isn’t always the case, and what beer is the best depends on your personal tastes and what you look for in a beer.

Craft brews are sometimes better tasting because they’ve been carefully brewed in small batches instead of being mass-produced. Craft brews often use higher-quality ingredients.

These beers are sometimes less watered down than domestic mass-produced beers. This, in turn, means that craft beers sometimes have a higher alcohol content.

The alcohol content in a craft beer is usually between 5 and 10%, while the alcohol content in a mass-produced domestic beer can be as low as 3.5%.

However, all of this often means that craft beers are more expensive.

Domestic beers, on the other hand, often offer many options when it comes to what beer you want.

Craft Beer vs Domestic Beer - What Is The Difference?
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Some establishments offer lite beers, which have fewer calories or leave you feeling less full. Others might offer different types of beer. Once you’ve found a brand you like, you can explore a range of flavors.

These beers are also generally less expensive and easy to purchase at any bar, restaurant, or store.

A craft beer, on the other hand, might only offer one or two flavor profiles, but those flavors or types of beer can offer an exceptional taste.

Because domestic beers are sometimes watered down, they actually contain fewer calories, on average, than a craft beer.

However, domestic beers sometime use additives that can be damaging to your health, while craft beers focus on quality ingredients.

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Some studies have shown that drinking craft beer can actually reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, it’s always a good idea to research what is actually in a beer before deciding which is healthier.

Some craft beers might use additives, while many domestic beer brewers focus on quality ingredients and good brewing practices to make even a mass-produced beer taste amazing.

Craft beer is made by small, independent breweries. Domestic beer is produced by large, commercial breweries.


Craft and domestic beers are also often served at different temperatures. In order to get the most flavor out of a domestic beer, it must be served very cold. A craft beer, on the other hand, is often served chilled or even at room temperature.

Craft beers are available in a range of colors, from pale yellow to a very dark brown. The color depends on the type of beer, how it was brewed, and what ingredients were included.

Domestic beers can also be different colors, but usually, they’re relatively pale.

Domestic beer is usually a beer people choose for drinking at a bar or party or when hanging out with friends. It will pair well with almost anything.

Craft beers, on the other hand, are often paired with foods, much as a wine enthusiast might pair a particular vintage with a certain dish.

couple drinking domestic beer in a bottle

What should you look for when choosing a beer?

Whether you want to try a craft beer or a domestic beer, it’s a good idea to define what you’re looking for in your drink. The most important thing to consider is taste.

A beer’s flavor can include the flavor you get while drinking it as well as the aftertaste or finish. Beer should also have a pleasant smell that complements its taste.

The color of the beer, whether it’s pale or dark, should be true to the beer style, and the beer itself should be clear.

Finally, many people judge a beer on its feel, such as how much carbonation it has or how dry it is.

Taking all of these things into consideration can help you make a mental map of what you like in a beer, which can help you make a good choice when ordering.

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